Toronto

Non-medical masks become mandatory in indoor public spaces in Toronto today

Masks have worked to help curb the spread of the novel coronavirus in other jurisdictions in which residents consistently wear them, and a mandatory mask rule may result in higher uptake, Toronto's top doctor says.

Temporary bylaw will remain in effect until at least the end of September

The bylaw requires businessowners to have customers wear a face covering inside. (Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press)

A temporary bylaw making non-medical masks mandatory in public indoor spaces takes effect today in Toronto. 

City council voted to make the move last week, after Toronto's medical officer of health, Dr. Eileen de Villa, recommended it in a report that was also endorsed by Mayor John Tory.

"It is about respecting and protecting each other," Tory said at a news conference. 

"We hope there are more and more people out in the stores and in the businesses across the city. We want that to happen for the sake of our economy and for the sake of returning to a nearer to normal kind of life."

Exceptions will be made for anyone who cannot wear a mask for medical reasons, as well as for children under two years old. The city has previously said there will not be "aggressive enforcement" of the new bylaw, and that the city will instead focus on educating the public about the importance of the order.

Masks have worked to help curb the spread of the novel coronavirus in other jurisdictions in which residents consistently wear them, and a mandatory mask rule should result in higher uptake, de Villa said last week.

Non-medical face coverings became mandatory on the TTC last Thursday, and the University of Toronto said it would also implement the rule at all of its campuses beginning today.

Similar policies are expected to come into force throughout the Greater Toronto Area in coming days and weeks. 

Brampton, Mississauga and Caledon, as well as York and Durham regions, are all considering bylaws of their own, though they are at various stages in the implementation process.

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